7 Times "The Good Place" Got Political Commentary Right

If you haven’t been binging or keeping up with The Good Place, then what have you been doing? This NBC sitcom, starring Kristen Bell and Ted Danson, has been killing it lately. It’s the perfect mix of fantastical plotlines, ethics lessons, and hilariously real humor. The Good Place is not afraid to poke fun at the flaws in our society, sometimes making viewers think, “Oh, they went there.” Unfortunately, this article is not spoiler-free, so if you haven’t caught up to season 3 of The Good Place, I highly recommend that you go do that right now — you won’t regret it! And for the rest of you fans of The Good Place, here are some of my favorite straight-up-gasp-out-loud moments from when The Good Place got political.

1. “There’s this chicken sandwich that if you eat it, it means you hate gay people. And it’s delicious.” - Judge Gen

Now, I know we were all devastated when we found out that Chick-fil-a donates money to homophobic organizations. Executive Dan Cathy also remarked in 2012 that, “I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we would have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is all about,” only made things worse. “In Chidi Sees the Time Knife,” Season 3, Episode 11; Judge Gen perfectly expresses our distress surrounding this topic, making a point about how difficult it is to be a good person when the world is so complicated.

2. “I took the form of a 45-year-old white man for a reason. I can only fail up.” - Shawn

When the demon, Shawn, explained his reason for taking on the form that he did in Season 2, Episode 11, “Rhonda, Diana, Jake, And Trent,” I couldn’t help but think, “Teaaaaa.” It seems only fitting that The Good Place would remind viewers to check their privilege. With such a uniquely diverse cast that features strong female characters, people of color, and LGBTQ+ characters, The Good Place was destined to get in a good joke at the expense of the cishet white male.

3. “Do you know how much weird stuff has happened because of your little experiment? England left Europe.” - Judge Gen

In Season 3, Episode 3, “The Brainy Bunch,” the writers of The Good Place found a witty way to allude to the disaster that is Brexit. While chastising Michael for messing up the timeline on Earth, Judge Gen offers explanations for many of the strange things that have been happening in real life. She continues on to say, “That Hugh Jackman musical about P.T. Barnum? It made like $400 million. Also, the Jacksonville Jaguars are good now. I’m serious! They’re going to make the playoffs. Blake Bortles is kind of okay, maybe, I don’t know, it’s being debated among experts, it’s confusing. But whatever it is, it’s your fault!”

4. “Look, there are plenty of awful people and thoughtless jerks, and I guess Nazis again, somehow.” - Michael

In the words of John Mulaney, “I don’t care for these new Nazis and you can quote me on that!” In “Chidi Sees the Time Knife,” Michael’s dejected tone of disbelief perfectly captures the feeling that you have when Neo-Nazis are in the news again. It’s upsetting and it just should not be happening, and The Good Place makes it a point to call out this awful occurrence in our current political climate.

5. “Fun fact, Columbus is in the Bad Place because of all the raping, slave trade, and genocide.” - Janet

If you attended an American public school growing up, you most likely remember being told that Christopher Columbus was the hero who discovered the Americas. Learning that he was neither a hero nor the first to discover the continent later on revealed one of the many flaws with the way we educate children and talk about historical figures. Season 1, Episode 3, “Tahani Al Jamil,” reminds us all that we shouldn’t glorify historical figures.

6. “We’re refugees. What kind of messed-up place would turn away refugees?” - Jason

In possibly the most pointed joke about politics on The Good Place to date, “The Book of Dougs,” Season 3, Episode 10 seriously comes for the United States’ current refugee policy. America’s refugee policy is not just pathetically apathetic to the plight of countless displaced people, it is also actually harmful to America’s own economy. Thankfully, The Good Place writers take it upon themselves to poke fun at this unfortunate reality through Jason’s ironic joke.

7. “I guess I’m black, and they do not like black ladies down there.” - Judge Gen

In another great quip from “Chidi Sees the Time Knife,” Judge Gen shows that her time on Earth revealed a lot to her about race relations in the U.S. Unfortunately, women of color have to deal with a lot of shit that no one should ever have to put up with, despite the fact that we are supposed to be making progress in regards to how welcoming, accepting, and diverse our country is. This is an important topic to discuss, especially considering how diverse the cast of The Good Place is, and I’m so glad that there are sitcoms like this one that aren’t afraid to acknowledge political issues that need to change.

While TV can sometimes be a way to escape from the chaos of real life, we can’t help but appreciate every one of The Good Place’s political zingers.

 

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